To be honest, I have not given it much thought before. But thanks to some really clever people who have crafted a repository of information easily retrieved with the stroke of a fingertip i.e. the internet, I listed some of the more infamous quotes that you might recognize…
“Choose your battles wisely”.
“Some battles you can never win so why try”?
“Any fool can criticize, complain, condemn, and most fools do. Picking your battles is impressive and fighting them fairly is essential.”
“That is the whole secret of successful fighting. Get your enemy at a disadvantage; and never, on any account, fight him on equal terms.”
“Strategically choose the battles that are worth the wounds”.
“Some battles are none of your business”.
“Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win”.
I am pretty confident you know of what I speak. Further, I boldly assert that you can collaborate with me by quoting other sayings on the theme, that you have heard and/or said with your own tongue, that I didn’t include. The important feature about this issue is that according to the world, according to conventional wisdom, it is espoused, expected and encouraged, as my mother was so apt to say, to “fight our own battles”. Suffice it to say, this mind set and belief has been programmed deeply into our subconscious and it really doesn’t matter if your mother said it as openly or bluntly, as only a mother can, if you have lived any length of time in the world, the message was sent.
As Christ Followers we have a problem with this philosophy. We struggle because we are mandated in the scripture ‘to be in the world, but not of it’. In 1 John 2:16 it states,
“For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions–is not from the Father but is from the world”.
Further, are we also mandated to formulate our thoughts and actions not from the world, but from God’s word which is emphasized in 1 Corinthians 3:19-20.
“For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.”
But what about fighting battles, we argue. God would not have us sit by idly and silently in the world and not engage in caring for the weak and vulnerable such as widows, orphans, women in some parts of the world, the sick and dying and those who are wrongfully treated, would He? Heavens, no! God does want us to engage in God- type activities because He does place us in those battles for such a time as this or that (Esther 4: 14). But the important feature about fighting a battle is that God wants us to know, it is His battle and not ours. This teaching is consistent throughout the Old and New Testament. God wants us to trust Him, distrust ourselves and let Him solve it while we patiently rest and wait for His solution. We are not to jump in ‘…torpedoes… full speed ahead’ and secure the outcome without God. See for yourself…
1 Samuel 14:6; Exodus 14:13-18; Judges 7:2, 4, 7; 2 Chronicles 20: 15-17; 2 Chronicles 32:8; Deuteronomy 20:4; Joshua 10:42; Psalms 44:6-8; Isaiah 9:6-7; Zechariah 4:6; Romans 8: 31-37. Proverbs 21:31; Hosea 1:7;.
More often than not, when faced with a battle, we ask the wrong question, “To fight or not to fight?” The true question is not, should we fight or not, but, “God, how should I respond in this situation? What would you have me to do?” Help me be faithful to Your will, not mine. Help me to trust You enough to rest in You and not do anything if that’s what You want.
So do not stir from the place where you are. Do not run away or attempt escape from the battle, but keep place and station, waiting and watching. God will move. He is strong and mighty and in the wait, He will make you like Him, strong and courageous.
I will end for today with a heavenly quote of encouragement… It is a battle cry from the Torah or Talwat, which is good to read by all accounts…
Exo 14:13 And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will work for you today.